Client: Friars Pub
Region: Bridgnorth, England (2017)
Art & Copy: Dave Blackhurst
Traditional. Digital. Viral.
In the now defunct era of traditional advertising, when copy was king, there was one key rule that held sway then, which still holds sway now during the evolution of advertising from traditional to digital and social. The rule: Keep it simple.
An ad for Friars pub in Bridgnorth, England, where a screenshot of text messages between mates is used to create an outdoor poster to advertise the pub's nightly entertainment events, proves that applying the keeping it simple rule can accomplish what many creatives dream of achieving nowadays: being virally viable. Going viral.
Yet, going viral was not Dave Blackhurst's, the poster's designer, intended outcome when he was asked by the pub's owner, Tom Hughes, to come up with the idea for Friars. Though it may seem so, the copy wasn't even actual texts exchanged between the two. In an interview, Dave states that he wanted to do something that has never been done before. "I don't even have a smartphone, so it took me about three minutes to come up with the idea but a few hours to put it together with an online message generator and photoshop."
After the poster was placed outside the pub, Tom noticed the amount of attention it received from patrons and passersby. People were taking photos of it, and eventually sharing it online, which is vital to the success of social media advertising. Tom says, "I didn't know it would go down as well as it has. I had a message on Monday saying it has gone viral and it had 3,000 likes on Facebook. And on Tuesday it just went crazy. We've had lots and lots of people messaging us as well, and the website views have gone up."
The ad has garnered a lot of global attention within advertising circles for its simplicity and effectiveness in incorporating copy with little or no art (based on digital technology) to communicate its message and go viral without the need to over-excite and sensationalize as is so common in the industry today. Its success did not rely on scores of experts to think-tank about how to just do it. It just did it. Simple does it. The buzz about this ad makes me believe that with just a little genius of thought, copy can be king again. -pep boy
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I travel to see, to think, to write--pep boy